Every October, Black History Month is a time to recognise and celebrate the pivotal contributions made by black people to the cultural development of the UK.
Despite the ongoing awareness, studies are still finding that 60% of ethnic minority professionals are continuing to experience racism in the workplace; by celebrating Black History Month, the aim is to eradicate systemic racism and encourage racial equality.
With racism continuing to trickle through multiple industries, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) cites that ‘Organisations must step up and help to stamp out prejudice, and build diverse and supportive cultures of respect and fairness for all.’
With that in mind, in our latest insights piece, we take a look at 3 key strategies on how organisations can stamp out racism in their workplace.
Introduce blind hiring
According to researchers at Nuffield College's Centre for Social Investigation (CSI), British citizens from ethnic minority backgrounds have to send 60% more job applications to get a positive response from employers compared to their white counterparts.
The incredible findings suggest that an unconscious bias is still prevalent with some employers when they see a ‘Middle Eastern or African sounding name’ on a CV.
This has even led some young professionals from ethic minority backgrounds to change their name to improve their chances of reaching the interview stage and securing employment. Similarly, hobbies which indicate a heritage or nationality have also been consciously removed from CVs by some professionals.
Recognising and acknowledging unconscious bias can be challenging which is why some employers have introduced blind hiring into their recruitment process.
By removing any identifiable characteristics (name/nationality/hobbies) from the recruitment process, it allows the hiring managers to focus on the skills, qualifications and ability which a candidate has instead of their nationality.
Open up the conversation
Conversations around race can be challenging, particularly if you’re fearful of accidentally causing offence but they are extremely important to acknowledge and understand how others feel.
In fact, a survey from RightTrack Learning found that 55% of people are afraid of discussing workplace inclusivity and diversity in fear of saying the ‘wrong thing’.
When discussing race, it can be possible to unknowingly use a phrase which is offensive or excludes someone from an ethnic minority background.
To tackle this and reduce the risk of it happening, it is advisable to introduce a basic level of race fluency so all members of staff within the business are aware of key terminology of what is acceptable and appropriate language.
A business could even hold structured conversations about racism with a skilled facilitator; this would allow everyone to speak freely in a safe space with the facilitator ensuring the conversation is handled sensitively and credibly.
By opening up the conversation, it will help to educate, reduce bias and drive positive change in and out of the workplace.
Poor handling of the situation, or avoiding the conversation altogether could lead to poor relationships in the workplace which are damaging for morale and engagement within the business.
Set the tone
Stamping out racism - in whatever form it manifests - should be at the heart of every responsible business.
It is the responsibility of management to demonstrate their commitment to diversity and inclusion and ensure that all staff members are aware of their stance on the issue.
Management should clearly communicate what won’t be tolerated within the working environment and highlight the consequences of what will happen if their policies are ignored or breached.
In fact, some businesses will extend their policies on tackling racism to outside of the working environment.
England cricketer, Ollie Robinson received an eight match ban earlier this year after racist comments he’d made years earlier were discovered on his social media platforms.
Racism should never be excused or overlooked in any setting and those affected should feel comfortable enough to speak out if they have been a victim of racial abuse or discrimination.
All too often, people are reluctant to speak out in fear of being labelled a ‘troublemaker’ and in some cases, they will quietly leave the business instead of bringing it to the attention of management.
Management should make it clear that they want to hear of any grievances and emphasize that they will take the appropriate action once reported; this will encourage people to feel comfortable enough to speak out and be heard.
Who is Spencer Clarke Group?
Formed in 2017, we're a multi-sector recruitment agency, specialising in a range of key disciplines within both the public and private sectors.
Recruitment to us isn't just about matching candidates and clients; we are passionate about what we do and love watching our clients and candidates grow from strength to strength.
We currently specialise in 8 sectors:
Accountancy & Finance
Construction & Trades
Education & SEND
Health & Social Care
Interim & Executive
Technical & Engineering
If you’re struggling to fill a role, why don’t you give us a call on 01772 954200 to see how we can help?
One of our Recruitment Consultants will be happy to listen to the challenges which you are facing and advise on the best possible solution for you.